Vermont joins 27 other states in passing legislation allowing students to carry and self-apply sunscreen in school

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

"With an estimated 9,500 new diagnoses of skin cancer reported daily in the United States, and an average of one in five Americans are expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime, sun safety education has become increasingly important, particularly for young Americans." © Klaus Vedfelt Getty Images
"With an estimated 9,500 new diagnoses of skin cancer reported daily in the United States, and an average of one in five Americans are expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime, sun safety education has become increasingly important, particularly for young Americans." © Klaus Vedfelt Getty Images

Related tags UV protection Skin health Sun protection Sun care Sunscreen

As skin cancer rates in the US continue to rise, Vermont has taken a proactive step towards sun safety by affirming students' rights to possess and apply sunscreen at school, a move supported by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

To promote sun safety and safeguard skin health, Vermont, in collaboration with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), has enacted legislation permitting students to possess and self-apply sunscreen while at school with the permission of a parent or guardian. ​Previously, a doctor's note or prescription was required for student's to be able to bring sunscreen to school and apply it throughout the day. This joint effort has been commended by CHPA, recognizing the imperative of imparting sun safety awareness to youth and empowering them to shield their skin proactively.

About S.187

The legislation, S. 187​, was brought in response to Vermont's elevated incidences of skin cancer cases.

An official summary​ of the act reads as follows:

This act requires each public and approved independent school in the State to permit students, with the written authorization of a parent or guardian, to possess and self administer a topical, non aerosolized sunscreen while on school property or at a school sponsored event or activity without being required to provide a medical provider’s note or prescription or having to store the sunscreen in a specific location.

With an estimated 9,500 new diagnoses of skin cancer reported daily in the United States and an average of one in five Americans expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime, sun safety education has become increasingly important, particularly for young Americans. Governor Phil Scott signed S.187 on Melanoma on Monday, marking Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the legislation goes into effect on July 1, 2024. This annual observance, instituted in 1995, serves as a dedicated interval for heightening awareness regarding skin cancer in the US. 

Carlos Gutiérrez, Vice President of State and Local Government Affairs at CHPA, conveyed the association's endorsement of Vermont's initiative and shared in a CHPA press release that "we applaud Vermont for empowering students to protect the health of their skin by allowing sunscreen use in schools." He added, "With Vermont's high rate of skin cancer, teaching youth about sun safety and promoting sunscreen use during outdoor activities is critical, and CHPA commends Governor Scott for signing this important legislation."

Vermont has joined 27 other states and the District of Columbia in enacting similar legislation, evidence that US legislators have a growing consensus to provide students with sunscreen access as a preemptive measure against skin damage. As the American Academy of Dermatology underscores, knowledge and prevention are pivotal in the battle against skin cancer. 

About CHPA 

As the premier national trade association representing foremost manufacturers and marketers of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, CHPA is committed to advocating for self-care promotion and ensuring access to dependable and economical healthcare products. Through initiatives such as S. 187, CHPA is an advocate for policies that empower individuals, including you, to assert control over their health and well-being. 

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